ALTHOUGH YOU PROBABLY WOULDN’T ADMIT IT, you might secretly think that you have a leg up in the online dating world if you consider yourself to be of the “hotter” variety of women out there. You’re probably going to want to think twice before you start counting your advantages, though. At least if you’re fond of posting flattering photos of yourself. (Which, who isn’t?) Some new research on the subject of online dating is showing that men appear to find it harder to trust super-attractive-looking women online. Blame it on the Photoshop?
The study started out by asking 305 participants to evaluate photos of people of the opposite sex, making their selections based on a variety of factors. (All of the participants were heterosexual, and the researchers asked the subjects to keep dating potential in mind.) Some of the photos were taken with normal-to-good lighting, while some of them were taken with great-to-superior lighting. Those photos with the extra-great lighting also featured people who had their hair and makeup done as to look as good as possible. A pretty common tactic for snagging attention amongst the masses on Tinder, right?
What the researchers discovered was that women rated the better-looking (or better-presented) men as both more attractive and more trustworthy. The male subjects, on the other hand, made no such correlation between beauty and trustworthiness: they could clearly distinguish which women looked hotter, but they also rated those same women as less trustworthy.
Previous studies have shown that good-looking people are actually considered more trustworthy in certain circumstances, such as communicating face-to-face with another person, so if you’re super-hot and fond of taking flattering selfies, well, you might be better off working your magic in person.
To be clear, while this study (tentatively) points to a correlation, it doesn’t reveal causation; it would be interesting to study why, exactly, women tend to positively associate physical attractiveness and trustworthiness while men do the exact opposite. It might be tempting to look for a scientific answer to this question based in genetics or evolution or neurological wiring, but the answer — or at least part of it — might be simpler. Society has been telling us to watch out for the seductress — those beautiful-but-inherently-untrustworthy Eves, Delilahs, and Mataharis — pretty much since day one. And when you think about all the femme fatale and heroic hunk characters Hollywood and the media are constantly bombarding us with — well, it’s not a big leap to take, is it?
One last interesting finding from this study worth mentioning was that women often rated men who posted a lot of selfies with traits such as “narcissism, Machiavellianism, and psychopathy.” Harsh. But not so harsh that they didn’t still want to date them, and none of that perceived psychopathy did anything to detract from their trustworthiness, either. Complain all you want, but don’t ever say women don’t give your deranged asses enough chances, fellas.